(18-9, 6-7 ACC)
(18-8, 9-4)3:30 p.m.,
WJLA (Channel 7), WMAR (Channel 2)
Miami Vice:Virginia still would be tied for first place in the ACC with North Carolina, but it failed to do what even Buffalo and Cleveland State have done this season -- beat Miami. After the upset loss to the Hurricanes, the only team in the ACC with a losing overall record, Virginia can ill-afford to lose at home to Georgia Tech. A win at Miami would have virtually ensured Virginia of a first-round bye in the ACC tournament, but now the Cavaliers will have to beat Georgia Tech to hold off hard-charging Duke and Maryland.
Cooling Down:Mamadi Diane's days as Virginia's third scoring option seem to be ending as his point totals and minutes dwindle. The sophomore guard has scored in single digits in four of the Cavaliers' past five games, the lone exception being 13 against Longwood, and has scored three or fewer points in Virginia's last three ACC games. He played only 17 minutes and attempted only one shot against Miami.
Growing Up:After losing four straight, Georgia Tech has won five of its last six and put itself in position to challenge for an NCAA tournament bid. The key has been the maturation of a highly touted freshman class of Zack Peacock, Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton.
-- Adam KilgoreGEORGE MASON (15-13, 9-8 CAA)
AT NORTHEASTERN (11-18, 8-9)1 p.m.
Last Chance:The Patriots need a victory in their regular season finale to secure the No. 5 seed in the CAA tournament, which begins Friday at Richmond Coliseum. With a loss, they would be subjected to a tiebreaker with as many as three other teams. Mason, which has won four of its past six road games, also is looking to extend its streak of 10-win seasons in the CAA to nine.
Personnel Issues: Sophomore guard John Vaughan will be in uniform after serving a one-game suspension for violating a team rule, but junior guard Folarin Campbell, who missed Tuesday's victory over Georgia State, is questionable with a hamstring ailment. His availability will be a game-time decision. "That hamstring is a nasty injury," Coach Jim Larranaga said Tuesday. "It's not torn, it's not injured; it's overworked and it's very tight, and if you go hard, you are going to tear it or pull it. What we're doing right now is trying to give him enough rest so he doesn't have to worry about it when he's playing."
The Matchup: Mason has beaten Northeastern three consecutive times, including a 78-53 victory on Jan. 20. The Huskies defeated Delaware on Wednesday for only their second road win; they are 2-14 on the road, 0-2 at neutral sites and 9-2 at home.
-- Steven Goff GEORGE WASHINGTON (17-8, 8-5 ATLANTIC 10)
AT LA SALLE (10-17, 3-10) Noon
A New Presence:George Washington sophomore Rob Diggs has felt pressure this season to get the most out of his 6-foot-8, 187-pound frame. Since getting thrown around in a loss to Saint Joseph's on Feb. 14, Diggs said the results of his weightlifting efforts are starting to show. "I feel as though I can hold my ground better," Diggs said. "I'm able to get in there, stick my nose in there." Diggs has scored 14 and 24 points in two games since, both times as a reserve.
Board Battles:GW Coach Karl Hobbs had been so frustrated with his team's lack of rebounding that he and his staff reviewed tape and determined that opposing teams are shooting nearly 70 percent on second-chance opportunities. But GW has won the rebounding battle the last two games, thanks to some help from the back court. "Coach emphasized rebounding ever since our losing streak," said guard Carl Elliott, who has grabbed double-digit rebounds during GW's back-to-back wins. "It's been falling toward the big men. All the guards, we've got to stick our noses in there and rebound."
About La Salle: The Explorers need a victory against GW just to stay alive for a spot in the Atlantic 10 tournament. La Salle hasn't beaten a team with a winning record during conference play, and the Explorers have lost six of their last seven games. La Salle is led by junior guard Darnell Harris's 14.3 points per game. Rodney Green is second in scoring at 13.1 points per game and is among five freshmen who play more than 12 minutes per game.
-- Marc CarigMIAMI (11-16, 4-9 ACC)
AT VIRGINIA TECH (19-8, 9-4)Noon
Hot and Cold: Virginia Tech's past three games provided a perfect glimpse into its season. The Hokies won at first-place UNC, lost to lowly N.C. State, then pounded Boston College. The Hokies are 6-1 against the top half of the ACC, but only 3-3 against the bottom half. Coach Seth Greenberg said it's not the Hokies, it's the conference. "We play at Carolina and we play at N.C. State, and you wouldn't think that's the same team," Greenberg said. "That's life in the ACC. You're going to have some absurdities. That's the way it is. Sometimes, you just don't know what you're going to get."
Up and Down: Deron Washington said the reason Virginia Tech wins the big games and drops some of the lesser ones is the Hokies get more motivated for nationally televised games and showdowns against top teams. That could spell trouble against Miami, one of the worst teams in the conference. Perhaps the Hurricanes' upset over Virginia came at the right time for Virginia Tech, making sure it won't overlook them.
Witch One?:Inserting A.D. Vassallo into the starting lineup and sitting Lewis Witcher has resulted in two blowout victories, including in Virginia Tech's last game against Boston College. While Greenberg said he might try the move more, Witcher still has his starting spot because the switch is based more on matchups. In the two games as a starter, Vassallo is averaging 20 points.
-- Adam Kilgore